If you’ve been a regular visitor to Ave Noctum, you may well have seen that Morass of Molasses featured on the best of 2019 list for several contributors thanks to their excellent ‘The Ties That Bind’. Front man, and in a field with some stiff competition, owner of one of the finest beards in metal, Bones ‘The Beard’ Huse was kind enough to mull over my inane questions, pretty much anything you could think to ask the band having previously been covered in their YouTube series ‘Ask Morass of Molasses’, and write far more eloquent replies.
Ave Noctum: Firstly, congratulations on ‘The Ties That Bind’, it’s an absolute belter, and despite the varied taste of the Ave Noctem staff it has appeared in more than a few “best of 2019” lists; were you surprised by just how positively the album was received over the wide metal spectrum?
Bones Huse: Thanks so much for the kind words about the album. In answer to your question, we are always pleasantly surprised by how many people from the Metal Community embrace all our efforts, both recorded and Live.
AN: With a second critically lauded album being released, yet not having access to major label support, what mindset do you adopt to overcome mainstream indifference to your music which has such a cult underground following?
BH: We actually do have a very small Record Label supporting our releases. Wasted State Records were instrumental in helping us get ‘The Ties That Bind’ out to a wider audience, and have been very supportive of our music. They are our biggest fans. In answer to your other point, mainstream ‘success’ has never been a driving factor in anything we do really. We Love what we do and we love the way it keeps evolving. Lots of other people seem to as well, that is what is really important to us.
AN: This is your first album with Raj on drums, albeit you’ve been playing live together for a while and are clearly a tight knit group; how did the change in personnel affect the band dynamics in the creation and recording of ‘The Ties That Bind’ ?
BH: Raj has been with the band almost since its inception in one way or another. He started out as our Sound Engineer at our Reading shows, and even played percussion on our first album. So the transition was very natural and he took to the role like a duck to water. Our creative output instantly increased and his more diverse style added whole new layers to our sound which weren’t present before.
AN: Your last album ‘These Paths We Tread’ had a remarkably different sound, ‘The Ties We Bind’ having to my mind a more trippy and psychedelic sound. Would you think that a fair comment, and if so, why did you travel down that musical pathway?
BH: As I mentioned before, we aren’t a band that tends to stand still musically speaking. Evolution is built into our songwriting DNA; we always seek to explore new territories, and try new things. Another factor would be the actual recording and mixing process itself. As ‘These Paths We Tread’ was recorded on and off over the space of a whole year. While ‘The Ties That Bind’ was done in just 16 days from start to finish. This imbued it with a raw and flowing quality the previous record lacked.
AN: For me, Morass of Molasses is almost intrinsically linked with Cybernetic Witch Cult, especially because of your regular co-headlining tours together; have you ever considered recording together, either a split, or as a new integrated entity? For some reason I keep thinking of the Iced Earth/Blind Guardian crossover that is Demons and Wizards, but without the overblown pomp.
BH: The lads in CWC are very close to our hearts. We have known them for almost as long as the band has been going and we have grown together as bands. There was talk of a split once, but it never materialised. Perhaps after this next album?
AN: When I listen to Morass of Molasses, I hear the influence of classic power trios like The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream, albeit with the bass progressions replaced by layered baritone guitar riffing; are there any bands that influence you that might surprise the listener?
BH: We Love anything that has Blues buried in its core. Our clearest influence is probably Free, but bands like Tool, Elder, RATM and QOTSA are also present in our influences.
AN: I hate to sound like an old hippy when I say this, but there has been a really organic synergy between your music, and the artwork you’ve chosen to illustrate your music; is there ever even a subconscious thought about how your songs should be illustrated when you compose them, or is it just a fortuitous coincidence that the artists you have chosen seem to really “get” your sound?
BH: We consider the Artwork to be as important as the music in some respects. Before the songwriting even begins we always discuss ideas, and many of them are visual and thematic, rather than just musical. The songs need to inhabit a world and the Art we use helps give that world form.
AN: The band really does seem to stick to the underground scene, not doing buy-ins or getting selected as openers for major acts. Personally, I can only imagine that larger bands would be intimidated to go on after you, but I’m probably biased; have you ever had a more mainstream act approach you, and if so, what has stopped you taking the opening slot on a major tour?
BH: We love the underground scene, it is very tight knit community and many people in it have become our good friends. We have been offered ‘Buy-ins’ with larger bands, but it doesn’t sit well with our ethics to be honest. We would much rather earn our fanbase the traditional way. At least then we know they are with us for the right reasons.
AN: As a two part follow up, if you could tour with any current act, who would it be, and if there was a fantasy tour featuring Morass of Molasses and any act that has ever been, extant or not, who would you like to play with?
BH: We would love to tour with Elder as they have been a big influence on us. In terms of a fantasy tour maybe The Doors.
AN: Finally, you must have to plough through a pile of interviews and the same old questions. Is there a question you would like to be asked, what is it, and what is the answer?
BH: I never get asked about my lyrics really. They are very important as a songwriter and I couldn’t sing anything that didn’t mean something to me on an emotional level
Thanks again to Bones for taking the time to do the interview, and if you want to help keep this rather excellent band going, you can buy their music and keep an eye on their shows on the following sites: